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Thursday, April 28, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa-Four individuals who have made a tremendous impact on the 102-year-old Drake Relays had their place immortalized tonight when they were officially inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in a reception and ceremony at Sheslow Auditorium on the Drake campus.

The Class of 2011 includes one member, Harvey Glance, the head men's track coach at Alabama, who becomes the first person to be enshrined in both the coaches' and Athletes' Hall of Fames.

Joining Glance among the coaching honorees is Sandy Fowler, the head women's track and field coach at Alabama. Being enshrined in the athletes' wing of the Hall of Fame is former Des Moines Roosevelt and Louisiana State standout Kim Carson, along with former Olympic medalist and UTEP star Obadele Thompson.

Fowler was unable to attend tonight's ceremony because of travel issues related to the devastating storms in Alabama, but is scheduled to arrive with her team on Friday.

Glance and Fowler are the 78th and 79th honorees in the Drake Relays Coaches Hall of Fame, which was established in 1977 with charter members John L. Griffith (Drake), Harry Gill (Illinois), Tom E. Jones (Wisconsin), Clyde Littlefield (Texas), Leo Johnson (Illinois) and Bill Easton (Drake & Kansas).

Glance, a former world-class sprinter, 16-time All-American, three-time Olympian, former world record holder in the 100-meter dash and 1976 gold medal winner, is in his 13th season leading the Alabama men's track and field program.

Glance was inducted into the Drake Relays Athletes Hall of Fame in 1987 after his distinguished career at Auburn.  As a college freshman in 1976, Glance won the 100-meter dash in a then- record time of 10.01, while also running on the 4x200 relay team that captured a title in 1:23.89.  A year later, his 4x200 relay squad defended its title before winning another crown as a member of the 4x100 relay team in 1978.

His honors while serving as coach at Alabama during Drake Relays include claiming nine Drake Relays titles (university-college long jump - 2000; U/C 110 hurdle - 2002; U/C 100 - 2003; U/C 800 - 2010; university 4x100 - 2000; university sprint medley relay - 2004; university distance medley relay - 2001; U/C shuttle hurdle relay - 2000; men's 8k road race - 2010). 

"This is an extraordinary honor," Glance said. "And it's a bigger honor going in as a coach because I didn't get here all by myself. It took a whole lot of people to get me to this point, from administrators to athletes to trainers to masseuses, to make sure I get the athletes out there to compete. So I'm real, real proud to receive this honor and I go in with a great deal of good company (inducted) before me. That's what makes it a tremendous honor because I know the names who have gone in before me."

As head coach at Auburn from 1991-97, he coached 12 national champions, six Olympians, 78 Southeastern Conference champions.  He recorded two runner-up team finishes in NCAA Track Championships and had six top-five finishes in NCAA Championships.

On top of his athletic and coaching accolades, Glance was bestowed the most prominent award of all in 2008 - the Congressional Gold Medal of Freedom. The medal is the nation's highest and most distinguished civilian award. The medal is presented both for singular acts of exceptional service and for lifetime achievement.

Fowler, a former world-class thrower, four-time All-American, National Champion and Olympian is in her 13th campaign directing the Alabama women's track and field program.  In her initial 12 seasons she has mentored 30 student-athletes into All-America status and coached Beth Mallory, the Crimson Tide's first-ever women's NCAA champion in the discus in 2005.

Fowler has coached one NCAA champion and 11 Southeastern Conference champions at Alabama (1998-present).  Under her guidance, Beau Walker was named outstanding women's performer of the 2004 Drake Relays after winning both 100 and 400 hurdles and anchoring the winning university 4x100 shuttle hurdle relay.  She also won the 400 hurdles in 2005.

Other Drake Relays titles under Fowler include; university 4x100 shuttle hurdle relay - 2005; university-college shuttle hurdle relay - 2009, 2010; U/C triple jump - 2006; U/C high jump - 2010; U/C discus - 2005; special 400 - 2003; U/C 100 hurdles 2004, 2009; U/C 400 hurdles - 2004, 2005; special 100 - 2006.

Thompson, a three-time Olympian, claimed four NCAA titles, 11 All-American certificates and won 16 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) titles at UTEP from 1993-97.  He captured the bronze medal in the 100 at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and was fourth in the 200 at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.  He won the 200-meter special invitational as a collegian in 1996 and then as a professional in 1998.

"When you consider the athletes who have participated throughout the history of the Relays," Thompson said, "from world record-holders to Olympic champions, it's an indescribable honor to be chosen among so many great athletes in the Hall of Fame."

As sophomore at UTEP, he beat eight-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis to win the special invitational 100 by 0.13 seconds during the 1995 Drake Relays.  He came back as junior to win the special 200 in 1996 as well as anchoring UTEP to victory in university division 4x100 relay in 1997.  Additionally, he won the special invitational 200 at the 1996 and 1998 Drake Relays.

Thompson finished third in the 100 at the 2000 Olympics and fourth in the 200 at the 1996 Olympics.  He won both the 100 and 200 at 1998 NCAA Outdoor Championships as well as claiming the 200 at the 1996 and 1997 NCAA Indoor Championships.  He held numerous world rankings during his career, including; ranking No. 3 in the world in both 100 and 200 in 2000; No. 5 in the world in the 100 and No. 6 in the world in 200 in 1999; No. 6 in the world in 100 in 1998; No. 4 in the world in 200 in 1997 and No. 5 in the world in 200 in 1996.

"In 1995 I was a sophomore and had the chance to race against Carl Lewis," Thompson recalled as his fondest Drake Relays memory. "And although he was past his prime, there's nothing quite like beating your idol. In many ways I looked up to Carl Lewis. Growing up on a small island, you look at this guy who is a multiple Olympic champion, world record-holder, so to be 19 years old and line up with him and actually win the race was unbelievable."

Carson was a seven-time All-American and six-time national champion hurdler at Louisiana State.  As a senior, she captured a trio of Southeastern Conference titles and claimed NCAA crowns in the 55-meter indoor hurdles and the 100-meter outdoor hurdles.  She twice won the 100-meter special invitational hurdle race at the 2002 and 2003 Drake Relays.

"My memories of Drake are just phenomenal," Carson said. "There's not another event like this anywhere in the world. The first time I came back after college I was blown away by the reception...the standing ovation and I threw my shoes in the stands. It was absolutely breathtaking."

After a successful collegiate career, Carson ran professionally and represented the United States in domestic and international competitions.  She was ranked in the top-25 in the world in the 60-meter and 100-meter hurdles. Carson set a personal best of 7.82 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles in Madrid, Spain, February 16, 2000, which was the second-fastest indoor mark in the world that year and No. 2 on the American all-time indoor list. In 2002, she finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles at the U.S. Outdoor Championship.

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